Over three-quarters of games studios plan to expand their workforce in 2023/24, however, 65% of UK games and immersive organisations are finding it difficult to recruit talent and many have pointed to a lack of skills as their main barrier to growth. Access to the industry is also a challenge for those not located near one of the 12 cities hosting with multiple games companies, resulting in limited experience of the real workplace.
Next Level Up is a radical online training programme aimed at those who are looking for their first role in games. Our learners are self-taught game makers, university graduates or late-stage career changers. They are linked by their readiness for work. This is not a solution for beginners, or those just starting to explore a career in games, it is for those that are almost ready, but do not have adequate collaboration, networking or portfolio presentation skills. The programme will trial an innovative peer-led learning system and accessible industry guidance to support programmers, artists and designers to create world-class portfolio pieces while developing employability skills like teamwork, critical analysis and collaboration. The solution will be affordable for those from low-income groups, be accessible no matter the geographic location and will connect them directly to industry professionals for high-quality career development planning aimed at getting participants work-ready as quickly as possible. This will result in more confident, diverse and employable learners for a growing sector.